Skip to main content

The Pulp Magazine Archive

Pulp magazines (often referred to as "the pulps"), also collectively known as pulp fiction, refers to inexpensive fiction magazines published from 1896 through the 1950s. The typical pulp magazine was seven inches wide by ten inches high, half an inch thick, and 128 pages long. Pulps were printed on cheap paper with ragged, untrimmed edges.

The name pulp comes from the cheap wood pulp paper on which the magazines were printed. Magazines printed on better paper were called "glossies" or "slicks." In their first decades, they were most often priced at ten cents per magazine, while competing slicks were 25 cents apiece. Pulps were the successor to the penny dreadfuls, dime novels, and short fiction magazines of the 19th century. Although many respected writers wrote for pulps, the magazines are best remembered for their lurid and exploitative stories and sensational cover art. Modern superhero comic books are sometimes considered descendants of "hero pulps"; pulp magazines often featured illustrated novel-length stories of heroic characters, such as The Shadow, Doc Savage, and The Phantom Detective.

The first "pulp" was Frank Munsey's revamped Argosy Magazine of 1896, about 135,000 words (192 pages) per issue on pulp paper with untrimmed edges and no illustrations, not even on the cover. While the steam-powered printing press had been in widespread use for some time, enabling the boom in dime novels, prior to Munsey, no one had combined cheap printing, cheap paper and cheap authors in a package that provided affordable entertainment to working-class people. In six years Argosy went from a few thousand copies per month to over half a million.

Street & Smith were next on the market. A dime novel and boys' weekly publisher, they saw Argosy's success, and in 1903 launched The Popular Magazine, billed as the "biggest magazine in the world" by virtue of being two pages longer than Argosy. Due to differences in page layout, the magazine had substantially less text than Argosy. The Popular Magazine introduced color covers to pulp publishing. The magazine began to take off when, in 1905, the publishers acquired the rights to serialize Ayesha, by H. Rider Haggard, a sequel to his popular novel She. Haggard's Lost World genre influenced several key pulp writers, including Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Talbot Mundy and Abraham Merritt. In 1907, the cover price rose to 15 cents and 30 pages were added to each issue; along with establishing a stable of authors for each magazine, this change proved successful and circulation began to approach that of Argosy. Street and Smith's next innovation was the introduction of specialized genre pulps, each magazine focusing on a genre such as detective stories, romance, etc.

At their peak of popularity in the 1920s and 1930s, the most successful pulps could sell up to one million copies per issue. The most successful pulp magazines were Argosy, Adventure, Blue Book and Short Stories described by some pulp historians as "The Big Four". Among the best-known other titles of this period were Amazing Stories, Black Mask, Dime Detective, Flying Aces, Horror Stories, Love Story Magazine, Marvel Tales, Oriental Stories, Planet Stories, Spicy Detective, Startling Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Unknown, Weird Tales and Western Story Magazine. Although pulp magazines were primarily a US phenomenon, there were also a number of British pulp magazines published between the Edwardian era and World War Two. Notable UK pulps included Pall Mall Magazine, The Novel Magazine, Cassell's Magazine, The Story-Teller, The Sovereign Magazine, Hutchinson's Adventure-Story and Hutchinson's Mystery-Story. The German fantasy magazine Der Orchideengarten had a similar format to American pulp magazines, in that it was printed on rough pulp paper and heavily illustrated.

The Second World War paper shortages had a serious impact on pulp production, starting a steady rise in costs and the decline of the pulps. Beginning with Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine in 1941, pulp magazines began to switch to digest size; smaller, thicker magazines. In 1949, Street & Smith closed most of their pulp magazines in order to move upmarket and produce slicks.[8] The pulp format declined from rising expenses, but even more due to the heavy competition from comic books, television, and the paperback novel. In a more affluent post-war America, the price gap compared to slick magazines was far less significant. In the 1950s, Men's adventure magazines began to replace the pulp.

The 1957 liquidation of the American News Company, then the primary distributor of pulp magazines, has sometimes been taken as marking the end of the "pulp era"; by that date, many of the famous pulps of the previous generation, including Black Mask, The Shadow, Doc Savage, and Weird Tales, were defunct. Almost all of the few remaining pulp magazines are science fiction or mystery magazines now in formats similar to "digest size", such as Analog Science Fiction and Fact and Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. The format is still in use for some lengthy serials, like the German science fiction weekly Perry Rhodan.

Over the course of their evolution, there were a huge number of pulp magazine titles; Harry Steeger of Popular Publications claimed that his company alone had published over 300, and at their peak they were publishing 42 titles per month. Many titles of course survived only briefly. While the most popular titles were monthly, many were bimonthly and some were quarterly. The collapse of the pulp industry changed the landscape of publishing because pulps were the single largest sales outlet for short stories. Combined with the decrease in slick magazine fiction markets, writers attempting to support themselves by creating fiction switched to novels and book-length anthologies of shorter pieces.

Pulp covers were printed in color on higher-quality (slick) paper. They were famous for their half-dressed damsels in distress, usually awaiting a rescuing hero. Cover art played a major part in the marketing of pulp magazines. The early pulp magazines could boast covers by some distinguished American artists; The Popular Magazine had covers by N.C. Wyeth, and Edgar Franklin Wittmack contributed cover art to Argosy and Short Stories. Later, many artists specialized in creating covers mainly for the pulps; a number of the most successful cover artists became as popular as the authors featured on the interior pages. Among the most famous pulp artists were Walter Baumhofer, Earle K. Bergey, Margaret Brundage, Edd Cartier, Virgil Finlay, Earl Mayan, Frank R. Paul, Norman Saunders, Nick Eggenhofer, (who specialized in Western illustrations), Rudolph Belarski and Sidney Riesenberg. Covers were important enough to sales that sometimes they would be designed first; authors would then be shown the cover art and asked to write a story to match.

Later pulps began to feature interior illustrations, depicting elements of the stories. The drawings were printed in black ink on the same cream-colored paper used for the text, and had to use specific techniques to avoid blotting on the coarse texture of the cheap pulp. Thus, fine lines and heavy detail were usually not an option. Shading was by crosshatching or pointillism, and even that had to be limited and coarse. Usually the art was black lines on the paper's background, but Finlay and a few others did some work that was primarily white lines against large dark areas.

Another way pulps kept costs down was by paying authors less than other markets; thus many eminent authors started out in the pulps before they were successful enough to sell to better-paying markets, and similarly, well-known authors whose careers were slumping or who wanted a few quick dollars could bolster their income with sales to pulps. Additionally, some of the earlier pulps solicited stories from amateurs who were quite happy to see their words in print and could thus be paid token amounts. There were also career pulp writers, capable of turning out huge amounts of prose on a steady basis, often with the aid of dictation to stenographers, machines or typists. Before he became a novelist, Upton Sinclair was turning out at least 8,000 words per day seven days a week for the pulps, keeping two stenographers fully employed. Pulps would often have their authors use multiple pen names so that they could use multiple stories by the same person in one issue, or use a given author's stories in three or more successive issues, while still appearing to have varied content. One advantage pulps provided to authors was that they paid upon acceptance for material instead of on publication; since a story might be accepted months or even years before publication, to a working writer this was a crucial difference in cash flow.

Some pulp editors became known for cultivating good fiction and interesting features in their magazines. Preeminent pulp magazine editors included Arthur Sullivant Hoffman (Adventure), Robert H. Davis (All-Story Weekly), Harry E. Maule (Short Stories) Donald Kennicott (Blue Book), Joseph T. Shaw (Black Mask), Farnsworth Wright (Weird Tales, Oriental Stories), John W. Campbell (Astounding Science Fiction,Unknown) and Daisy Bacon (Love Story Magazine, Detective Story Magazine).

Description of this collection from Wikipedia.

Many issues of this collection come from a variety of anonymous contributors, as well as sites such as The Pulp Magazines Project and ThePulp.net.

298
RESULTS
rss


PART OF
Additional Collections
Media Type
298
texts
Year
1
1986
1
1949
1
1944
1
1939
4
1938
2
1937
More right-solid
Topics & Subjects
37
pulp
30
Weird Tales
22
fiction
11
fantasy
7
horror
5
1928
More right-solid
Collection
More right-solid
Creator
1
wollheim, donald allen, 1914-1990
Language
298
English
SHOW DETAILS
up-solid down-solid
eye
Title
Date Published
Creator
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 153
favorite 1
comment 0
CONTENTS: Weird Tales [v37 #4, March 1944] (15¢, 112pp+, pulp, cover by John Giunta) 6 · The Trail of Cthulhu [Laban Shrewsbury] · August Derleth · nv 33 · Ghouls Feeding · Damon Knight · pm 34 · The Unbeliever · Seabury Quinn · ss 47 · Hoofs [John Thunstone] · Manly Wade Wellman · ss 55 · The Shoes Of Judge Nichols · Stanton A. Coblentz · ss 66 · From The House Of The Rat Catcher · H. Bedford-Jones · ss 78 · The Peeper · Frank Belknap Long · ss 86 · The Marmot · Allison...
Topics: Pulp, Pulp Magazine, Weird Tales, Horror, Supernatural, Science Fiction, John Giunta, August...
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 182
favorite 1
comment 0
Weird Tales v40n04 (1948 05) (slpn)
Weird Tales v39n07 (1946 09) [LPM AT SAS]
Weird Tales v46n02 (1954 05) [LPM AT SAS]
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 209
favorite 2
comment 0
Tales of Wonder 14 no bc (Bogof39)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 210
favorite 2
comment 0
Weird Tales v44n03 (1952 03) (unz.org)
Weird Tales v46n03 (1954 07) [LPM AT SAS]
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 216
favorite 1
comment 0
Weird Tales v43n06 (1951 09) (slpn)
Crypt of Cthulhu 053 (1988.Cryptic)[CosmicJukebox]
Weird Tales v36n01 [1941 09] (Gorgon776 sas)
Weird Tales v40n02 (1948 01) [LPM AT SAS]
Weird Tales v31n02 (1938 02) (slpn) (Corrected)
Crypt of Cthulhu 049 [1987] (Cosmic Jukebox)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 222
favorite 2
comment 0
Weird Tales v44n05 [1952 07] (sas)
Crypt of Cthulhu 038 (1987.Cryptic)[CosmicJukebox]
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 238
favorite 2
comment 0
Weird Tales v39n01 (1945 09) (unz.org)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 247
favorite 1
comment 0
Weird Tales v44n01 (1951 11) (Gorgon776)
Weird Tales v41n05 (1949 07) [LPM AT SAS]
Weird Tales v21n02 (1933 02) (missing ifc, ibc, bc)
Weird Tales v38n05 (1945 05) (ifc,ibc,bc from unz.org) (slpn)
Avon Fantasy Reader 09 (1949) (Wolfhound)
Weird Tales v36n07 (1942 09) [LPM AT SAS]
Crypt of Cthulhu 023 [Cryptic.1984] (wolfhound)
Weird Tales v16n01 (1930 07) (missing ifc)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 285
favorite 3
comment 0
CONTENTS: Weird Tales [v26 #5, November 1935] (25¢, 128pp+, pulp, cover by Margaret Brundage) ◦530 · Shadows In Zamboula [Conan] · Robert E. Howard · nv ◦551 · In Thessaly · Clark Ashton Smith · pm ◦552 · The Consuming Flame [Dr. Satan] · Paul Ernst · nv ◦572 · The Hand Of Wrath · E. Hoffmann Price · ss ◦586 · Ghost Of The Lava · Katharine Buoy · pm ◦587 · The Way Home · Paul Frederick Stern · ss ◦597 · The Carnival Of Death [Part 3 of 4] · Arlton Eadie · n....
Topics: Pulp, Pulp Magazine, Weird Tales, Horror Fiction, Science Fiction, Robert E. Howard, Conan the...
Crypt of Cthulhu 026 (1984.Cryptic)[CosmicJukebox]
Avon Fantasy Reader 04 (1947) (Wolfhound)
Wonder Stories v04n03 (1932 08) (cape1736)v2
Avon Fantasy Reader 08 (1948) (Wolfhound)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 300
favorite 2
comment 0
CONTENTS: Weird Tales [v27 #3, March 1936] (25¢, 128pp+, pulp, cover by Margaret Brundage) ◦258 · The Albino Deaths · Ronal Kayser · nv ◦272 · The Crystal Curse · Eando Binder (by Earl Binder & Otto O. Binder) · nv ◦290 · Beyond Death’s Gateway [Dr. Satan] · Paul Ernst · nv ◦307 · Haunted · Alfred I. Tooke · pm ◦308 · The Black Abbot Of Puthuum [Zothique] · Clark Ashton Smith · nv ◦322 · The Devil’s Swamp · Robert Avrett · pm ◦323 · The Hour Of The...
Topics: Pulp, Pulp Magazine, Weird Tales, Horror Fiction, Science Fiction, Earl Binder, Otto O. Binder,...
Fantasy & Science Fiction v025n04 (1963 10) (AK)
Fantasy & Science Fiction v002n01 (1951 02) (AK)
Fantasy & Science Fiction v002n02 (1951 04) (AK)
Fantasy & Science Fiction v003n01 (1952 02) (AK)
Fantasy & Science Fiction v002n04 (1951 08) (AK)
Fantasy & Science Fiction v003n02 (1952 04) (AK)
Fantasy & Science Fiction v002n06 (1951 12) (AK)
Crypt of Cthulhu 051 (1987.Cryptic)[CosmicJukebox]
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 331
favorite 2
comment 0
Weird Tales [v23 #1, January 1934] (25¢, 144pp+, pulp, cover by Margaret Brundage) ◦3 · The Solitary Hunters [Part 1 of 3] · David H. Keller · na ◦22 · The Red Knife Of Hassan [Jules de Grandin] · Seabury Quinn · nv ◦42 · Place Names · Katherine van der Veer · pm ◦43 · Invaders Of The Ice World · Jack Williamson · nv ◦58 · Too Late · Alfred I. Tooke · pm ◦59 · A Phantom In The Sky · Dale Clark · ss ◦68 · Rogues In The House [Conan] · Robert E. Howard · nv...
Topics: Pulp, Pulp Magazine, Weird Tales, Horror, Science Fiction, David H. Keller, Seabury Quinn, Jules de...
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 337
favorite 1
comment 0
10 • Tryst in Time • novelette by C. L. Moore 28 • The Flame Midget • short story by Frank Belknap Long [as by Frank Belknap Long, Jr.] 38 • Frankenstein - Unlimited • short story by H. A. Highstone 48 • World of Purple Light • [Strange City • 2] • novella by Nelson Tremaine [as by Warner Van Lorne] 82 • The Fourth Dynasty • short story by R. R. Winterbotham 89 • The Single Clue • [A Study of the Solar System] • essay by John W. Campbell, Jr. 94 • The Incredible...
Topics: Astounding Stories, SF, pulp, fiction, 1936
Famous Fantastic Mysteries v01n01 (1939 09) (AK)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 338
favorite 1
comment 0
Wonder Stories v05n04 (1933 11)
Thrilling Wonder Stories v09n01 (1937 02)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 349
favorite 1
comment 0
Wonder Stories v04n01 (1932 06)
Fantasy & Science Fiction v002n05 (1951 10) (AK)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 355
favorite 1
comment 0
Avon Fantasy Reader 01 (1947)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 356
favorite 1
comment 0
Wonder Stories v04n11 (1933 04)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 362
favorite 1
comment 0
Wonder Stories v04n05 (1932 10) ( bc)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 363
favorite 1
comment 0
148 • The Eyrie (Weird Tales, August 1927 ) • [The Eyrie] • essay by The Editor 151 • The Bride of Osiris (Part 1 of 3) • serial by Otis Adelbert Kline 173 • Satan's Fiddle • novelette by George Malcolm-Smith 188 • The Power of the Dog • short story by G. G. Pendarves 193 • Creeping Shadows • [Jules de Grandin] • short story by Seabury Quinn 206 • Lake Desolation • poem by Leavenworth Macnab 207 • Fly Island • short story by B. Wallis 219 • The Man with a...
Topics: Weird Tales, 1927, fantasy, horror, pulp, fiction
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 364
favorite 4
comment 0
CONTENTS: Weird Tales [v04n02, (May-June-July) 1924] (50¢, 192pp+, large, cover by Mally) Anniversary Issue. 1 · Why Weird Tales? · Anon. (by Otis Adelbert Kline) · ed 3 · Imprisoned With The Pharaohs · Houdini (ghost written by H. P. Lovecraft) · nv 13 · “Whoso Diggeth A Pit—” · Vida Tyler Adams · ss; given as by Vida Taylor Adams in the Table of Contents. 16 · Deep Calleth · Gordon Burns · ss 19 · The Malignant Entity · Otis Adelbert Kline · ss 27 · The Sixth Tree ·...
Topics: Pulp, Pulp Magazine, Weird Tales, Horror Fiction, Supernatural Fiction, Science Fiction, Harry...
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 366
favorite 1
comment 0
Weird Tales v39n02 [1945 11] (jvh sas)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 371
favorite 1
comment 0
Wonder Stories v04n12 (1933 05)
Amazing Stories v18n02 (1944 03) (cape1736)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 374
favorite 2
comment 0
Wonder Stories v03n10 (1932 03) (c2c)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 378
favorite 1
comment 0
Wonder Stories v03n02 (1931 07)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 381
favorite 1
comment 0
Wonder Stories v04n06 (1932 11) ( bc)
Famous Fantastic Mysteries v09n03 (1948 02) (unz.org)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 391
favorite 1
comment 0
Weird Tales v45n05 [1953 11] (sas)
Amazing Stories Magazine
texts
eye 394
favorite 1
comment 0
Amazing Stories v07n07 (1932 10) (alt)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 394
favorite 1
comment 0
Weird Tales v42n05 (1950 07) [LPM AT]
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 395
favorite 1
comment 0
Weird Tales v46n04 [1954 09] (sas)
Crypt of Cthulhu #50 [1987] (Cosmic Jukebox)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 404
favorite 1
comment 0
Weird Tales v39n10 [1947 03] (jvh sas)
Wonder Stories Quarterly v02n04 (1931 Summer)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 408
favorite 1
comment 0
Weird Tales v45n04 [1953 09] (sas)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 415
favorite 1
comment 0
Wonder Stories v03n06 (1931 11)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 415
favorite 1
comment 0
    293 • The City of Glass • novelette by Joel Martin Nichols, Jr.     317 • The Blood-Flower • [Jules de Grandin] • novelette by Seabury Quinn     331 • The Seventh Symphony • [Ivan Brodsky • 7] • (1910) • shortstory by Victor Rousseau     337 • Evolution Island • novelette by Edmond Hamilton     354 • A Requiem • poem by Ernest Dowson     355 • Soul-Catcher • shortstory by Robert S. Carr     360 • The Specter • poem by Miles J. Breuer,...
Topics: Weird Tales, 1927, fantasy, horror, pulp, fiction
Crypt of Cthulhu #33 v04n08 (Lammas 1985)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 427
favorite 1
comment 0
5 • Stealer of Souls • novelette by Charles Hilan Craig 21 • On the Dead Man's Chest (Part 1 of 4) • serial by Eli Colter 29 • The Dead Soul • short story by Raoul Lenoir 39 • The Black Crusader • short story by Alicia Ramsey 47 • McGill's Appointment • short story by Elsie Ellis 49 • The Mystery Under the Sea • short story by Donald E. Keyhoe 59 • Adam, to Lilith • poem by E. Hoffmann Price 60 • The Avenger • short fiction by H. Thompson Rich 63 • The Fair...
Topics: Weird Tales, fantasy, horror, pulp, fiction, 1926
Crypt of Cthulhu #34 v04n09 (Michaelmas 1985)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 435
favorite 2
comment 0
Weird Tales v43n04 [1951 05] (ATLPM Sas)
Thrilling Wonder Stories v11n02 (1938 04)
Crypt of Cthulhu #49 [1987] (Cosmic Jukebox)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 438
favorite 1
comment 0
Weird Tales v49n01 [1984 Fa] (AT sas)
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 444
favorite 1
comment 0
Wonder Stories v02n05 (1930 10)